12 | Nov | 13

Richard Johnson

Spot The Jerk

The best jerk I’ve ever tasted was from the Notting Hill institution Velma Davis. During Carnival, she sold bakes – like fried dumplings – and jerk chicken from her trestle table on the All Saints Road. But she was best known for her spicy fishcakes. She made them for Alan Yentob and Richard Branson. “If the Queen came tomorrow,” she said, “I would give her fishcakes. Burn her twice – going in and coming out.” Damn, those things were hot. Street-side jerk stations are dotted all over the Caribbean, serving up jerked meat with hard dough bread, deep-fried Cassava Bammy (flatbread) and Festival (sweet fried dumplings). Good to see the great James Arthur ‘doing the jerk’ in the video for his latest song. Freeze frame at around one minute in, and you’ll see the chicken on a dancing flame. Unfortunately the poor fellah is too busy singing and ting to get his jerk on. Fame is a fickle mistress….